Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the government will undertake a thorough review of media in the UK ahead of a new communications act.
Speaking at the Oxford Media Convention, Mr Hunt gave details of his Action Plan for local television, which is based on the Shott report published last month, and broadcasting local TV over the terrestrial network.
Mr Hunt invited new and existing media providers to register their interest by March 1 with a view to awarding the first licences by the end of 2012 and have them “up and running” soon after.
“For consumers, what this will mean is a new channel dedicated to the provision of local news and content – one that will sit alongside other public service broadcasters, offering a new voice for local communities, with local perspectives that are directly relevant to them,” Mr Hunt said. “So I am inviting all potential providers to register their interest with my department by 1 March, with the formal process scheduled to begin early this summer.”
He added that the Government would not be prescriptive about the number of areas around the country that will be involved and will wait to see what commercially viable proposals come forward.